I agree with Lario3, who replied to Callum Perret`s excellent article.
I am not willing to accept that we as fans should be expected to stand idly by while the club disintegrates. Next season Man City, Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea and Newcastle will quite possibly finish ahead of us and Leicester will be right on our shoulders with Everton not far behind.
Spurs have a title-contesting team which will be around for at least three years because they are a young team and money will be coming in from the commercial genius of Levy. The others will have the support of Billionaires and they will have funds that we can only dream of. That money buys the best players and essentially, the best Coaches. That is a mix that establishes an elite level reserved for a few select clubs and unfortunately Arsenal shall be one of those with it`s nose at the window looking in on the good life.
The clubs mentioned above – and their fans – will see us in the way that we used to regard Man City, Spurs and Chelsea, as bankers every season for 6 points for Arsenal. Those days are gone and we are in the pre-George Graham era when we regularly finished short of the best but periodically coming up with a trophy. Our wins against clubs with similar capacity were often enough to keep our fans happy and we always had a feeling that we were supporters of THE Arsenal. The pundits had a certain respect for our club and we were often seen as `The Guards` of the first division. I am old enough to remember those days and I have no doubt that I fell in love with a special club which belonged with the “Blue Boods” . Those clubs were Man Utd (from the 60`s on) Spurs , briefly in 1960 -61, Liverpool, Leeds (in the 70`s) and possibly Newcastle, for their FA Cup achievements, Aston Villa, the first British club to win a major Euro trophy, and Wolves who had a long spell during the 50`s as a premier club.
If there is one club from that list that we should look carefully at it is Leeds United. In the 70`s they were a formidable club. Liverpool, Arsenal and Man Utd. fought wars against them during the Don Revie era and they were a team which had brilliant ball players and several hard men in their team. Every club, whether British or Continental, knew that every game against them was a battle. Now look at them. They failed again to make it into the Premiership and they were almost bankrupt in recent years. The Bremner, Hunter, Jones, Giles, Smith era is long gone and if we continue on the same road that we have followed in the last 13 years, we shall be there as well.
I am too old to change allegiance, so I will continue to follow Arsenal but it will not be with the expectation that I will see my team competing for the European Championship, again. nor will it realistically, be competing most years for a top 4 finish, which as Callum rightly says was sniffed at by our supporters.
TV rights are where the big money comes from nowadays, though a generous Sheikh seems to be the lifeboat for any progressive club. Unlike Arsenal, for which there is an American Entrepreneur at the reins and who has no Arsenal blood in his veins, only the reasoning of Scrooge. The Hill-Woods and Bracewell- Smiths have a lot to answer for if that is our future. I admit that as a commercial transaction, they were entitled to sell their shares to whomsoever they chose to, but the sale of a football club which had been their baby for so many years also had an emotional investment which was shared by the fans. That emotion has turned to ice in the veins of Kroenke, and frankly if this had happened in 1965 when I lived in Islington, I would have shown my disapproval by staying away until he got the message. It is still a powerful lever for the fans and it worked when Arsene Wenger was removed because of empty seats at games. It was not something I enjoyed and I condemned the thuggery associated with it, but like it or not, it was effective because Sky and BT don`t want to be broadcasting images of empty, toxic grounds.
For those of you who do not understand this attitude and who think we should support the club through any action of the owner and be happy for the crumbs we get; I am not David Copperfield and I do not expect to have to beg for my sustenance. The story in `David Copperfield` evoked empathy from it`s readers and the emotion which it arose affected all kinds of people who shared those feelings, rich or poor.
I see this situation in the same light. Who or what is Kroenke? Who are the fans? Is a Football club which has been supported by generations of it`s fans nothing more than a financial asset to be disposed of. I believe that the lives of so many people over generations have been intertwined with the fortunes of the club and he should have considered that before he bought Arsenal Football Club PLC. He obviously didn`t but he does now and he knows what the fans want. If he gets it right, he could promote the future of the Club and speculate to accumulate as Man Utd. have done and still own the 1st(or 2nd) richest club in the world.
We were the biggest club in London, the Capital City for God`s sake and we cannot even mount a sensible argument for that proposition now. Chelsea and Spurs have overtaken us and we are beginning to look more like Watford ( no disrespect to it or it`s supporters ).
I watched the faces on the Arsenal faithful who travelled all the way to Baku and paid £9,500.00 for the privilege. That is commitment and I could have cried for them as the goals went in, with minimal resistance from those who represented them on the field. There will be many better scribes than me who will analyse the players and the coach, but the buck stops at Kroenke.
This disaster will wash over him or he can take an objective look at the situation. It is obvious that we are not good enough, the players are not good enough. I postpone judgement on the coach, because he does not have much to work with, especially in midfield and defence. It will take two fortunes to remedy this situation and in the meantime the equity in his investment is shrinking. I suggest that he makes a sensible deduction and sells his shareholding to a real Billionaire who can afford to fund a club of Arsenal`s status before it loses it`s status.
A sophisticated, articulate Arsenal Man of Mystery. Aged 70 and a bit.